The enticing bodies of girls selling nuts are what Taiwanese men dream about and whom they hope to meet on their travels. Scantily dressed in a bra and miniskirt the girls sell betel nuts in glass shops along the roads and motorways. They are the sales tools, and they need to arouse the customer's taste. A table, a high chair, a mirror, a fridge and dimmed neon lighting. The saleswomen sit inside an aquarium for up to twelve hours a day, and because they are unable to move in this restricted space their legs swell. The film's black-and-white images depict the work of these women. The body is often reduced to fragments: it is only the vehicle of a secondary sexuality, a sexuality intended to influence customers. Old songs sound through the night shift, and the rain adds rhythm to melancholy moments spent waiting for the next car. The betel nuts, which the girls offer motorists to help them remain alert on long journeys, have a bitter taste and blacken the teeth, but they also induce a good mood and stimulate the mind and assuage hunger and thirst. They have been consumed in Southeast Asia from time immemorial and are a part of local culture. This visually sophisticated film shows the narrow perspective in the rapid way of life that has burst into Chinese culture. The specific sexual exploitation of women illustrates the desire to make as much money as possible in the shortest amount of time possible. Only young bodies can stand in the nut-shop windows.
Doc Alliance is a creative partnership of 7 key European documentary film festivals. Our aim is to advance the documentary genre, support its diversity and promote quality creative documentary films.